The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association recently honored Harvard Law School Lecturer on Law Alexander Chen ’15, founding director of the law school’s LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic, with its Best Under 40 award.

Chen, a leading expert in LGBTQ+ civil rights law, was one of and 14 people who received the accolade, which is given to individuals who have “achieved prominence and distinction in their fields of endeavor” and “demonstrated a strong commitment to Asian American Pacific Islander civic or community affairs.”

Chen, who was also named Trans Alumni of the Year by Harvard University earlier this fall, teaches Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and the Law. His work has been featured in the New York Times, The Economist, Bloomberg, Slate, the Boston Globe, and many other media venues.

Under Chen’s leadership, Harvard Law’s LGBTQ+ Advocacy groundbreaking clinical program has achieved landmark impact litigation settlements (Lopez v. Department of Homeless Services, Hersom v. Crouch, Amaya Cruz v. Miami-Dade County), and secured several legislative victories, including helping pass first-in-the-nation multiple domestic partnership and non-discrimination ordinances, and defeating state anti-transgender legislation. The clinic has also published influential amicus briefs, regulatory comments, and white papers, including on non-binary rights, intersex rights, trans sports, trans youth, prisoners’ rights, veterans’ rights, and digital harassment and cybersecurity.

Previously, Chen worked at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where he helped litigate the trans military cases Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump, the landmark Ninth Circuit trans prisoner surgery case Edmo v. Corizon, and co-drafted AB 2119, a bill that made California the first state to mandate access to gender-affirming care for trans foster youth.

He has been named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Law & Policy, and one of the 40 Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBTQ Bar Association.

For his teaching, he was awarded the Harvard AAPI/APIDA Affinity Celebration Faculty Award in 2023, which recognizes one Harvard University faculty member for their outstanding mentorship of AAPI/APIDA students. He was also one of three professors chosen by the 2023 Harvard Law School graduating class to deliver a “Last Lecture,” Living a Good Life as a Socially Conscious Lawyer.

Chen attended Oxford University (B.A. 2009), Columbia University (M.A. 2012), and Harvard Law School (J.D. 2015), where he was the first openly transgender editor of the Harvard Law Review and a recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He clerked on the Ninth Circuit for the Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, and in the Southern District of California for the Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel. He also co-founded the National Trans Bar Association and the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition and co-authored the Trans Youth Handbook.